April 2021 - 41

A black bear gets a drink of
water from Lake Creek in
Grand Teton National Park.

A pair of bull moose in velvet
stroll through the Gros Ventre
River north of Jackson.

		

Humans, too, are entrenched in our reliance on
these thin, winding ribbons of water. Ranchers draw
from rivers and streams to irrigate their hayfields,
towns crop up along their green banks and anglers
wade in the icy flows as they maneuver their lines for
sport, relaxation and a fresh trout dinner. Wyoming's
rivers are a gathering ground for creatures big and
small. Wait patiently on their banks and you may be
afforded a glimpse of a crossing elk or the tail slap of
a beaver. You will see signs of the birds that rely on
these waters. The rivers are constantly changing with
the seasons, and the wildlife weaving in and out of
their domain arrange their lifestyles around the flow.
There was a tranquil day last September when I
found myself an unsuspecting observer to the natural
connection between wildlife and the river in a newly-forming riparian area. It was during the ambiguous
time between summer and autumn when cool water
feels invigorating against your skin, but the cold clings
to damp clothing as soon as the sun sinks below the
mountainous horizon. I was wet-wading a side channel
of the Snake River that a few years previously had
deserted the rushing torrent of the main channel
to seep sneakily amid a tangle of towering conifer
trees. It felt almost dreamlike - strolling through
a large stand of fir and spruce. The forest floor was
Wyoming Wildlife | 41



April 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/January2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/December2020
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